Second Supermoon of 2014 will be visible on Jan 31, 2014

The second of the five supermoons of 2014 would be visible on Friday around 3.30 p.m. January 1, 2014 was the year’s first supermoon and January 31, 2014 will be the second.

  • January is the only month with two supermoons until January 2018. 

As per Space Foundation, an organisation working for popularizing astronomy, the second of the five supermoons of 2014 would be visible on Friday. The other supermoons this year are forecasted to happen on July 12, August 10, and September 9, 2014. The one is August is supposed to be the closet to Earth.

What is a supermoon?

A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The technical name is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. It appears as much as 14 % bigger and 30 % brighter.

  • The term “Super Moon” was coined by astrologer “Richard Nolle” in 1979. Before supermoons were called supermoons, they were referred to Perigee Full Moon”, or “Perigee New Moon”.
What is ‘Perigee-Syzygy’?

The  term  supermoon  is  not  widely  accepted  or  used  within  the  astronomy or scientific community, who prefer the term ‘Perigee-Syzygy’.

  • Perigee: the point at which the Moon is closest in its orbit to the Earth.
  • Syzygy: a full or new moon, when the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are aligned nearly in a straight line.
  • Supermoon = Perigee + Syzygy, although they do not perfectly coincide each time. 

Thus a Supermoon can be regarded as a combination of the two, although they do not perfectly coincide each time. Syzygy may occur within a maximum of 12 hours  from  perigee  during  a  supermoon,  and  1  hour  from  perigee  during an extreme Supermoon.

How does supermoon occur?

A super full moon occurs when the moon’s closest approach to the Earth (lunar perigee) coincides with the phase of full moon. When this happens the moon may seem bigger and brighter. However, for the ordinary star-gazer there will be no significant difference.

  • In other words, the Moon which is a natural satellite of the Earth revolves around it in an elliptical orbit rather than a circular one. While revolving, when it reaches the perigee (closest point to Earth from its orbit) , the Moon is about 356,992 km away, as compared to the 405,696 km away that it is at its furthest distance from the Earth (apogee). This closeness combined with the coincident of a full moon gives it a bigger look from the Earth. Thus, the phenomenon called “Supermoon”.

About Full moon

The full moon is a lunar phase occurs when the moon is on the opposite side of the earth from the sun and all three bodies are aligned in a straight line. It appears as an entire circle in the sky. In modern use, when 13 full moons occur in a year, usually one calendar month has 2 full moons; the second one is called a Blue Moon”.

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